Latest success stories from Renaissance Learning

Instant impact with Brompton-Westbrook Primary School

Brompton-Westbrook Primary School, Kent

We speak to Deputy Headteacher Kevin Presneill whose school, Brompton-Westbrook Primary School, have been using The Complete Literacy Solution by Renaissance since 2019. Kevin explains the difference in reading enjoyment, engagement and development that the school are now much better able to track and maintain since introducing Renaissance solutions.

Kevin writes:  

We saw Accelerated Reader working for another school in Chatham. They have a similar percentage of pupil premium students and a higher percentage of English additional language students, so we knew it could work for us too. This other school has seen a dramatic improvement in reading results over the last few years. We needed a motivational resource to get children to read more, so using Accelerated Reader was the natural choice.

We wanted to be seen as a school that had a reading culture. We gave children time to read, but we needed a resource that highlighted what children are reading and how prepared they would be ahead of SATs as well as their general reading ability. Essentially, as a school, we wanted validation that what we were doing with reading development was making an impact and was worth our time.

We started our journey with Renaissance in January 2020, and we raced to get it set up. The timing was impeccable, bearing in mind that two months later, we went into lockdown. Until the end of May, we had barely any children in school. But, because we had Accelerated Reader and myON to ensure children could continue their reading development at home, that was a bit of a godsend. It was essential to offer AR quizzes to children at home because we wanted them to understand their ATOS level ahead of their return to the classroom and to keep the momentum we had built going.

“The data highlighted that there was more reading happening at home! This reading engagement at home was validating because we did run a couple of competitions to keep reading going over Christmas.”

When we knew schools were going to part-close, we rushed to get myON ready as we knew it would be the best way to access reading from home. The data we received from Renaissance Learning in our customer review was pleasing to see how much children were quizzing and reading each month during remote learning. The data highlighted that there was more reading happening at home! This reading engagement at home was validating because we did run a couple of competitions to keep reading going over Christmas.

Most children had access to both hard-copy books and their myON books. With AR and myON, pupils can check their word count. Year six read something like 75,000 words and were successfully passing their AR quizzes. We subsequently analysed those stats based on each year group. To motivate children to read over holidays, including the Easter and summer holidays, staff need to track pupils’ reading engagement.

In the local education authority of Medway, our year sixes can choose to take an 11+ test to potentially transition into a grammar school. Reading proficiency is vital for pupils who have the ambition to pass the 11+. The way the 11+ questions are set out, verbal reasoning is more of an extended comprehension paper. We understand that Star Reading questions are a good resource in preparing for the 11+ test outside of simply carrying out mock questions as this ensures children are comprehending what they are reading and check the suitability of books they have chosen.

“We conducted some Star Assessments in June 2020, and the instant feedback was beneficial.”

We conducted some Star Assessments in June 2020, and the instant feedback was beneficial. Some pupils were keen to conduct another test after seeing their initial feedback. However, because of the obvious external reasons affecting classroom-based learning at that time, we were uncertain as to how reliable the data would be. The majority of Star Assessment results that came back were reasonable. Still, some apparent exceptions demonstrated that the pupil had not conducted the assessment appropriately at home (and in some instances, we felt that there had been an element of parental participation!).

We’re now trying to get teachers to connect the dots between different bits of data. Some children might not have picked up a book for a term, so we’re not going to jump into Star Assessments immediately after the return from lockdown. When we’re ready to carry out Star Assessments properly, we want staff to utilise the reports to see a comprehensive overview of the pupil’s development. It’s not just a case of looking at ZPDs and reading age; teachers need to be looking at latitudinal growth, time per test and student growth percentiles.

We had a meeting with our SENCO, and together we agreed on what SGP score some of our SEND children need to be achieving based on their unique learning needs. Preferably, we want them to be reaching an SGP score of 66 and climb to help them close the gap on their peers. This longitudinal score tells us that they are making the same progress as their peers of the same starting points nationally.

“The data shows us how much our boys and girls are progressing; there is quite an edge between those two demographics. But with AR quizzing, there is an excellent competitive edge.”

The overall impact that Accelerated Reader and myON has had on our school so far has been significant. The data shows us how much our boys and girls are progressing; there is quite an edge between those two demographics. But with AR quizzing, there is an excellent competitive edge. It’s great for us to talk to parents as well. With the other deputy head, we held webinars for parents on myON. Next term, we will probably provide one for Accelerated Reader because we haven’t adequately launched it because of the various periods of lockdown. That’s the thing, it’s perhaps one of the best things I’ve been involved in at the school, and because of the little time, we’ve not seen the full impact yet.

From what we have seen so far, we’ve managed to create conversations around reading. If a child is looking for a book, they now are more likely to give you an author name. We can’t ever have enough Tom Gates and David Walliams. Many children have taken to the Lemony Snicket books, and some of them loved Alice Through The Looking Glass, and they love the fact they pick up 30,000 words in their word count. Their ZPD scales keep them engaged, and it genuinely does help them to pick appropriate texts. Since introducing AR to the school, we’ve bought loads of books.

“…with myON, we’ve also got the full 5,500 digital texts in addition to our wonderfully stocked library.”

Our older children love the Little People, Big Dreams books with Rosa Parks, Maria Montessori and Alan Turing. As a school that encourages pupils to talk about diversity, when you see children reading these books, there are so many boxes being ticked there. This reading enthusiasm uptake is because we’re buying more books based on what pupils want to read. And, with myON, we’ve also got the full 5,500 digital texts in addition to our wonderfully stocked library.

We can use books now to support cross-curricular subject matter, including both in our library and with myON projects. Procuring AR and myON when we did has been an enormous benefit. For example, next term, year six will be learning about World War Two, so the next obvious next step is to get them reading books linked to AR around WW2. Providing different subject-specific books gives pupils more context around the topic. It allows us as teachers to have much more meaningful conversation with them.

The numbers don’t lie!

Product usage stats:

  • 28,935 Accelerated Reader quizzes carried out from 19/20 – 20/21*
  • 1,300 Star Reading assessments carried out from 19/20 – 20/21*
  • Average ZPD level carried out from 19/20 – 20/21– an average of 4.59 – an average increase of 24.75%*
  • Average Accelerated Reader Quiz Percentage Correct of 82% carried out from 19/20 – 20/21*
  • Average Accelerated Reader Reading Level carried out from 19/20 – 20/21– an average of 3.14*
  • Average Star Reading Scaled Score carried out from 19/20 – 20/21– an average of 551.73 – an average increase of 36.34%*
  • The average time per Star Reading test carried out from 19/20 – 20/21is 19 Minutes 39 Seconds*
  • myON books hours read – a combined total of 2,149 hours since August 2020*

*2020 product usage stats will be distorted due to school closures in March 2020 resulting in infrequent quizzing/testing 

To find out how your school can utilise the Complete Literacy Solution by Renaissance, click here


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